SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
March 13, 1978
NEW CHAMPIONSir: Pat Putnam's article on the Ali-Spinks fight (He's the Greatest, I'm the Best, Feb. 27) sent chills up and down my spine. Could any man have defeated Muhammad Ali and accepted the WBC belt more gallantly than Leon Spinks did—first, by thanking the Lord for his victory and then by pointing out that, although he is now the best, his man Ali is still the greatest? In my mind Leon Spinks is a first-class world champion.SEAN MADDEN Cincinnati
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March 13, 1978

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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I disagree with your vote for Walter Davis as Rookie of the Year (It's Whoooosh! Boom! Whoop! Time, Feb. 20). Marques Johnson is my choice. He may average fewer points than Davis, but Davis doesn't dominate play the way Marques does. Also Phoenix is an experienced team, while Milwaukee is more dependent on players with less experience.
Almena, Wis.

Walter Davis truly is the outstanding rookie in the NBA. But to go so far as to say that he has "transformed the Phoenix Suns from a last-place team to a championship contender" is going too far. The Suns' downfall last year, after reaching the championship series in 1976, was the result of injuries to key players, not a lack of talent.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Saying that Laker Guard Norm Nixon is playing surprisingly well is not only the understatement of the year, but is also the only time you mentioned this outstanding rookie. He doesn't get half the recognition he should, because he doesn't average more than 20 points a game. With the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Adrian Dantley on the same team, what can you expect? Nixon does more than his share of the chores by being third in the league in assists, an outstanding defensive player and the team "quarterback." He should be the NBA Rookie of the Year.
Orange, Calif.

Your article on the NBA rookies must have offended every New Jerseyite who subscribes to SI. You refer to Bernard King's situation in New Jersey as an "entrapment." Judging from his statements, King doesn't seem to mind his so-called entrapment.

Right after the article came out, the "incomparably horrible" Nets won three in a row and four out of five. In the last of those games, King's "inmates," as Curry Kirkpatrick calls them, beat the Seattle SuperSonics without King, who had the flu. With the reacquisition of "Super John" Williamson, and at least one good draft pick for 1978, the Nets' future doesn't look so bad.
Manalapan, N.J.

Your stereotyped description of New Jersey was very accurate as far as North Jersey is concerned, but to saddle South Jersey with these slanderous remarks is unforgivable. The proud residents of South Jersey couldn't careless about the Mafia, soot, tunnels or the Piscataway Nets. The team to root for in South Jersey is the Philadelphia 76ers. From now on, please refer to that mess to our north as North Jersey.
Mount Holly, South Jersey

Recently I read in your magazine about a high school team that traveled 300 miles round trip to play its first-ever interscholastic basketball game (SCORECARD, Jan. 30). Compared to our travel schedule, 300 miles is a close game. I coach basketball in rural Alaska and this year our Glennallen High School Panthers traveled more than 10,000 miles. We went from Glennallen to Valdez (230 miles round trip), to Barrow (1,700 miles), to Adak (3,000 miles, as you noted in your Feb. 20 FACES IN THE CROWD), to Seldovia twice (2,000 miles), to Ninilchik (1,000 miles) and to Fairbanks (500 miles). We also made some miscellaneous trips of a few hundred miles or so. We have driven every highway in the state, traveled by a crab boat, by commercial and bush airlines, by bus and by private car.
Girls' Varsity Coach
Glennallen High School
Glennallen, Alaska

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